Za’atar…Mysterious and Awesome

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern Spice Blend that has no exact recipe and differs from place to place, but it is amazing.  I first experienced it just this past December as Christine and I had our final meal in Astoria before she moved out.  We had explored much of Astoria to that point but one place we walked past almost daily and never went to was this place….

Never knowing what it even was and seeing how it often appeared closed, we just admired the interesting store front as we passed and commented on what it could be.  That was until we saw an episode of Unique Eats on the Cooking Channel where they actually visited this place.  This place, turns out, is a well known Eqyptian restaurant with amazing food and an eccentric chef/owner.  So we decided to make this our final meal in Astoria (but we will return) and it didn’t fail. The first thing they put on your table is a phyllo dough bread with za’atar spiced dipping oil.  This is where I found my love for the flavor and started to seek out an official recipe which led me to realize there is no official recipe, just the same as with true Indian curry, it varies.  This post from Men’s Health Guy Gourmet reminded me of this and has inspired me to come up with a za’atar flavored dish this weekend, using the basic ingredients in the article to construct my spice mixture.  Check it out and give it a try yourself.